District Advisory Networks improve communications

Victoria’s Wellington Shire has established District Advisory Networks (DANs) to improve Councillor to community communication and consultation. With 43,000 people across 11,000 square kilometres of diverse communities, the Shire suffers from the tyranny of distance. Volunteers act as a channel between Council and the community to bring people together.

Each DAN has a minimum of five members. Each member is trained and supported by Council and serves for two years or more. The combination of seven enthusiastic DANs , Community Development Officer Michael Rowell, and minimum resources has guaranteed a two way flow of ideas to and from Council. Funds of less than $6,000 for the year have enabled the project to run.

“DANs enable concerns, ideas and recommendations of communities across the Shire to receive equal Council attention,” Michael Rowell said. They’re encouraging greater participation and increasing confidence in Council.”

DANs resolve key issues such as bridging the gaps between communities where cooperation is hampered by distance, ensuring that funding is spent where it will do most good, developing facilities and building a future based on mutual trust and support.

“This is a straightforward process of asking, seeking, finding and funding,” Michael Rowell said. “It’s a big achievement on a small budget. The biggest expense – $2,000 for training – is repaid tenfold in terms of lasting and effective service to the community. The simplicity of this system means that it can easily be adapted for wide application in the public and private sectors.”

For further information contact Karen Gregory on (03) 5142 3458.